Send Michelle Singletary money questions you want answered

Send Michelle Singletary money questions you want answered


I bear in mind getting my Social Security assertion a number of months earlier than my birthday. It was, for years, the best time for me to consider my monetary future.

Those letters stopped coming greater than a decade in the past as the federal government sought to save lots of money. Now you go online, besides in some restricted conditions, to join your assertion — which, by the best way, was redesigned in 2021 with numerous helpful data.

But even with out that yearly reminder, you could make your birthday an event to replicate on how you’re dealing with your funds. What ought to you be doing in your 20s? When you hit your 40s, ask whether or not your retirement financial savings are on observe. Hitting 60? The late-or-early debate about taking Social Security is dealing with you this decade. You’re 80 and still don’t have a will. What’s that about?

To assist information you in your monetary self-examination, I’ve created, with a tremendous crew at The Washington Post, an interactive information — money milestones for each age. You can discover it at

Michelle Singletary’s money milestones for every age

I’ve acquired lots of of questions over time from readers throughout the nation. I’ve compiled essentially the most frequent ones within the information, from credit score to creating wealth to housing and well being care.

There’s recommendation for each decade of your monetary life, from 20-somethings simply beginning out to retirees having fun with the fruits of their good planning.

There’s additionally a “Post Reports” podcast that features a dialog with my two 20-something daughters. We talked about their struggles with adulting. They’ve acquired some tales. Get able to snigger and cry as I focus on the money points that dominate our lives.

Post Reports: How to be smart with your money at every age

I wrote this mission with you in thoughts. Whenever I learn a ballot or examine that claims Americans are financially illiterate, I want to scream “It’s not their fault!”

Yes, some of us are flailing due to unhealthy decisions. But the choices you must make about your money could be overwhelming, and it’s exhausting to know whom to belief to assist you make the proper selections.

“I’d say extra of what scares me most about adulting is there isn’t a laid-out path,” my youngest, Jillian, mentioned in the course of the podcast. “Do I want to remain on this job? Do I want to maneuver to a unique state? Do I want to remain within the space? It’s all large query marks. And that’s what about adulting freaks me out.”

That says loads, contemplating she has a mom who’s spent a lot of her profession writing about private finance and an equally savvy money-manager father.

What we’ve executed is put in a single place a roundup of serious monetary questions, paired with hyperlinks to my columns over time and different articles as assets. But as I put this mission collectively, I knew I couldn’t hit each challenge beginning out. So that is the place I want your assist.

To enhance the mission, we’ll be including questions from readers. What’s in your thoughts about your money?

“In your glorious money milestones column, I didn’t see something about funerals,” emailed Jim Ward of Alexandria, Va. “Should I prepay my funeral?”

I’ll be updating the mission subsequent month and including Ward’s query.

Many individuals imagine they’ve taken care of their funeral bills with pay as you go burial and funeral contracts, just for their household to find after their dying there’s extra to pay. That’s if they will discover the data for the “preneed association,” as they’re typically known as.

“Just buried my brother, whose grave was pay as you go, however not his funeral,” Ward wrote. “My brother had talked about pre-planning, however after going by way of his papers, we didn’t discover something.”

What got here subsequent was a hunt for the coverage they thought was in place.

6 joyful steps for end-of-life planning

“We contacted the funeral dwelling his church makes use of and located he hadn’t made any preparations,” Ward mentioned. “The funeral dwelling contacted the church cemetery, and we found he had purchased a plot.”

Ward ended up paying the funeral value out of pocket.

A pal identified one thing else absent from the mission — a piece devoted to individuals of their 90s and past.

There are 2.4 million individuals within the United States 90 or older, which incorporates 2.3 million individuals ages 90 to 99 and near 98,000 centenarians, in line with the Census Bureau’s single-year age estimates from 2021.

In a 2011 release, a demographer for the bureau mentioned this: “Traditionally, the cutoff age for what is taken into account the ‘oldest outdated’ has been age 85, however more and more individuals are dwelling longer and the older inhabitants itself is getting older. Given its fast development, the 90-and-older inhabitants deserves a more in-depth look.”

In 2016, there have been 81,000 centenarians within the United States. That determine is predicted to extend to 589,000 by 2060, in line with census estimates. By 2050, individuals 90 and older are anticipated to succeed in 10 p.c of the inhabitants comprising seniors 65 and older.

We stopped the recommendation for individuals of their 80s. My considering was that Americans older than 80 would profit from the identical recommendation provided for the earlier decade. But they deserve their very own part, which will likely be mixed with centenarians.

As with any endeavor of this depth and breadth, one thing is inevitably neglected. But I’ll do my greatest to handle extra of your most urgent monetary questions. And you might disagree with my recommendation, however the objective is to facilitate a dialog in order that you are intentional about your money. I hope I’ve executed that, and that you will likely be an lively participant in serving to me establish matters so as to add to this mission.